If you’ve been in recruitment long enough, chances are this has happened to you.

Here’s a few ways to respond when you represent a candidate and the client says “Sorry, but we already know them.



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Thanks but we already know that candidate

Belinda Kerr

All right, so what do you do, you put a great candidate forward to a client. And then they say, thank you very much. We already know this person. They’re either on our database, or, you know, they’ve been put forward for a recent job, or they’re a friend of the bosses, whatever, it doesn’t matter. They’re saying to you that you know, that they already know this person. And they don’t understand how absurd it actually is to say, just because they know somebody that you’re not sure, a representation of that candidate. Ultimately, what they’re doing is collapsing the service of recruitment with just knowing somebody. And of course, they’re totally unrelated, and that’s what you need to show them.

If they’re saying this to you. It’s usually because of one or three things. They just really don’t understand what they’re doing, or they do know what they’re doing and they’re just really trying it on. Or the third thing is sometimes it can be a more junior person or somebody who should have found that person and they haven’t and they’re worried that if they then take this candidate to the to their boss that you’ve really put forward, they’ve asked him to say, well, we, you know, we should already know about that person. So that’s the other scenario. But in any of these cases, what we want to do is ask some questions and ultimately get the client to really be justified like put it back on them didn’t get them to be justifying why they shouldn’t be taking a representation as opposed to you justifying why they should.

So in this video, I’ve just got a few tips and ideas that could help you do this some scenarios. So what do you do? Well, each scenario is a little bit different. So what I want to take you through in this video is some different things that you can say and do along the way to get the client to justify to you why they don’t think they should be paying your fee, but also to show to them how absurd it is and to pull the two apart pull the fact of knowing somebody in recruiting pull them apart is two very, very separate things. These are few examples depending on what the case is. And I’ll have to read these because I’ll never remember and I will actually I’ll get this video transcribed to at some point soon so you can actually read this if you want to as well.

But the first one, we got here is all right. So start up by framing the conversation with something like this. “I appreciate what you’re saying. And if I have this right, what you are saying to me is your organization has overlooked this candidate before we bring them to your attention. And now, you don’t want to pay me for what you’ve engaged me to do”. Secondly, ask them “How does already knowing a candidate, qualify them as an applicant for you?” And then often they’ll say something like this in response to that? Well, if we already know them, we just don’t see why we should pay you on standby. We’re going to show them why you should pay us. And a way to respond to that is, “Oh, that’s interesting, what actually makes you think that you’re paying for somebody that you know, what you’re really paying for is for me to help you recruit the right person for this job”. Might work for you.

Okay, he’s a bit of a longer one. “I’m a bit confused here, have I got this clear, the person hasn’t applied for this job, doesn’t know about the job, and up to this point hasn’t currently been considered for the job. And you believe that knowing them somehow negates our right to represent them? Or so how does knowing them factor into us representing them for this role? Or how does simply knowing them to tie in in any way in what we’re doing?” And here’s another approach. “So let me understand what’s going to happen from here. I’ve brought you a strong candidate who up to this point hasn’t been considered for the role, doesn’t know about the role. And I’ve done all the work to bring you to bring this person to your attention. ie so what you are paying what you’re paying me for, and if it wasn’t for my work, you wouldn’t have known about them anyway. And now I’ve delivered a great candidate and for whatever reason has been missed by your organization. You are not going to pay me and you’re going to approach them directly. Have I got that right?” Apparently and so here’s something you can add to that. “If recruitment equals knowing somebody, Mr. or Mrs. client, you would already have them in the mix for this position. You aren’t paying us to know somebody, you’re paying us to bring you the right people. Or here’s another one, huh? “Interesting. Well, I guess if you were paying us based on who knows who you’d have a point, but how does this correlate with the fact that this candidate isn’t currently in the mix? To me, it demonstrates what you’re paying us to do has nothing to do with you knowing anybody and everything to do with representing interested and vetted candidates. So in a nutshell, what is very clear to me, Mr. client is that for whatever reason, Sally has been overlooked to this point, and would not be in the frame for this position if we hadn’t represented her to you. So if she hasn’t already been considered for this position, we believe it only fair to invoice you for her placement”.

Whatever they say from there will be very telling. So hopefully that will just give you a few ideas if these if it does come up you something in your toolkit that you can pull out. And there are a few other things to consider as well as if you’re just floating candidates in, and there’s no engagement upfront, you know, it’s gonna be a pretty typical response from somebody, they do already know somebody, they haven’t invited you to engage with them, if they haven’t signed your terms of business, you know, you’re really on the back foot. So I guess the listening is to have your terms up to date. And also, these days, I added into my terms, a clause around social media and knowing people because, you know, really, we used to get people saying, Oh, you know, we’re connected on LinkedIn. So we had to put it in our terms of business to cover us off from that. So you know, in essence, saying just because you’re connected to somebody on LinkedIn doesn’t negate any right to pay a fee. And so the other thing that you can do is to if you’re worried about somebody, get your candidates actually writing. So do you, yes, you’d like them to represent you doesn’t, you know, mean, ultimately your client will pay, but it just gives you some more strength, I guess around your argument that they that they should.

So if you’ve got a brief, you’ve got terms signed, you’re very clear with the candidate that you’re wanting to represent them. You’ve asked the candidate, whether they’ve been represented by anybody or if they’re already known to that business. And you’ve already also said to the client at the beginning of the taking on the role, you check to see who else is in the mix, then all these things are going to help strengthen your position if and when this comes up. So to point the onus is on you as well. And, you know, I know plenty of people who are working in internal HR roles who are frustrated by just being slammed with candidates that aren’t vetted and they’re just, you know, people are just throwing them through and then, you know, expecting a fee, it works both ways. But if you’re doing the right thing for your client, engaging them, signing the term you’ve clearly got the role you’ve gone and done the work then you have absolutely every right to be paid for that representation, and don’t let them try and tell you otherwise, look, there are lots of different scenarios in this too. So if you’ve got some, if this has happened to you, and you’ve got some different scenarios, and you’re looking for a little more advice, and I’ve, I’ve kind of given you those sort of theoretical examples here today, type them, type them in into the comments, let me know or if this has happened to you, and you’ve got some great solutions that work really well for you and you’re happy to share it, love to hear those as well. So hopefully this helps and let me know what you think.



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